India’s - Glorious History – The Essential Highlights
A small group tour led by Dr. Rima Hooja
11 October – 24 October 2020
Dr. Rima Hooja
Tour scholar Dr. Rima Hooja lives and works in Jaipur, Rajasthan. She studied for her PhD at the University of Cambridge, writing her thesis on early agricultural and Mesolithic sites in southeastern Rajasthan. The author of more than a dozen books and recipient of the Publishers Recognition Award (2008), Dr. Hooja has also published nearly 100 academic papers and newspaper articles.
For two years, Dr. Hooja was Faculty Director at New York State Independent College Consortium for Study in India (NYSICCSI). She was also Director of Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID), India; an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Kota Open University; Senior Fellow at the Institute of Rajasthan Studies in Jaipur; a Visiting Fellow at the Royal Asiatic Society; and a consultant at the Getty Foundation. She has excavated a number of archaeological sites in India and the UK.
London • Delhi • Amritsar • Delhi • Agra • Jaipur • via Mumbai to London
(Meals: B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner)
Sunday 11 October
Fly from London on BA to Delhi. D
Monday 12 October
Arrive Delhi then internal flight to Amritser, once a small village chosen to be the location of the most Holy Shrine of the Sikh religion in the late 16th C. Close to midnight join the faithful in the moving spiritual ceremony of Sukh Assan – when the Holy Book is laid to rest for the night. Three nights Hyatt Regency or Taj. B D
Tuesday 13 October
Amritsar sightseeing: Explore the fascinating Sri Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple, the holiest Gurdwara of Sikhism. Next make a poignant visit to Jallianwala Bagh and visit the site, with bullet scars still visible, where there occurred a moment of immense tragedy. Then visit the Partition Museum filled with the documents pertaining to the events of the post partition riots etc. finally visit a local Punjabi village. Later drive to Wagha Border to watch the carefully choreographed Indo-Pakistan changing of the Guard Ceremony. The precision and flamboyance is quite fascinating to watch. B D
Wednesday 14 October
This morning drive to Tarn Taran Sahib founded by Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh Guru. Visit the Gurudwara Shri Tarn Taran Sahib, the Sarovar (the sacred waters close or built around a Temple) name has a wonderful meaning - 'a boat that takes one across the ocean of existence.' The beautiful building was built in a Mughal style. Afternoon at leisure. B D
Thursday 15 October
Time to continue personal exploration of the city – perhaps revisiting the Golden Temple or exploring the markets. The Guru Bazaar is famed for its jewellery and the oldest the Hall Bazaar filled with goods of every description. Late afternoon departure on the Swarna Shatabdi Express train to Delhi. Two nights at the Shangri La Eros. B D
Friday 16 October
A morning tour to explore the highlights of Old Delhi. Wherever you look, history is around every corner with superb vignettes of the past still clearly visible. Listen to an insight into the history of Delhi by an INTACH scholar, before taking an exhilarating cycle rickshaw ride to the Jama Masjid. The lovely marble and sandstone ‘Friday Mosque’ was the pinnacle of Shah Jahan’s architectural masterpieces. It was built between 1644 and 1658. The cycle drive is an experience in itself winding through the bustling back streets of Chandni Chowk, once, the Mughal city centre of Shah Jehanabad. Finally continue onto the Raj Ghat- Mahatma Gandhi’s emotional cremation site. Remainder of the day at leisure. B D
Saturday 17 October
Morning sightseeing of dynamic New Delhi including the UNESCO World heritage site of the impressive Humayun’s Tomb. India’s first ‘garden tomb’ and the first ever building to be constructed in red sandstone on such a huge scale. It’s also said to have been the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. Next visit the Qutab Minar, a soaring 73 metre high tower built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in 1193, commissioned to celebrate Muslim dominance in Delhi after the defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu ruler. Finally drive to India Gate, India’s national monument dedicated to fallen soldiers. Afternoon at leisure. B D
Sunday 18 October
Drive to Agra. After lunch a Mughal Heritage walk, discovering the hidden gems off the main beaten tourist tracks. Visits include the Gyarah Siddi, Mehtab Bagh and Humayun’s Mosque. Also visit a craft workshop to see how the beautiful inlaid Agra work is created. Whilst walking catch tantalising glimpses of the fabled Taj Mahal. Two nights ITC Mughal. B D
Monday 19 October
Unforgettable sunrise visit to see the sun caress the white marble stone of the fabled Taj Mahal. Spend time exploring the superb building and walking in the grounds of this sadly romantic creation of love. On the opposite side of the Yamuna wander the Mughul Mehtab Bagh garden – thought to be built by the Emperor Babur. It was on this spot Shah Jahan had wanted to build the ‘Black Mahal’, but was thwarted when imprisoned by his son. Next explore the intriguing Agra Fort seeing the different styles of architecture as each successive ruler gave it his own personal stamp. Finally visit the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah. Afternoon at leisure. B D
Tuesday 20 October
Drive to Jaipur via Fatehpur Sikri. Explore this deserted city built by the Emperor Akbar. Here small things are intriguing as well as the outstanding dominance of the city’s architecture… for example look out for the ‘air conditioning’ system. Pause by the graceful marble Tomb (Mazar) of Salim Chisti in the middle of the Emperor’s courtyard. Here generations of women have come to pray for a male heir. The next stop is the extraordinary Abhaneri Stepwell constructed around AD 800. There are 3,500 narrow steps descending down 13 stories to roughly 30m in depth. Four nights at Alsisar Haveli. B D
Wednesday 21 October
Drive to the stunning Amber Fort by jeep. The forbidding and austere exterior of the fort belies a magnificent interior filled with winding corridors leading to rooms filled with a delight of murals, frescoes, paintings, wonderful intricate carvings and complex mirror work. The views are magnificent stretching to the distant hills dotted with watch towers.
After lunch visit the City Palace complex with its fascinating museum. The Astronomical Observatory is quite simply superb and breath-taking in its complexity. The delightful Palace of Winds shows the whimsical side to Mughal architecture. B D
Thursday 22 October
Jaipur ( Day visit Tilonia barefoot college)
Day visit to Tilonia Barefoot College. Established in 1972 the collage aims to encourage people to gain practical knowledge and skills, by running courses for peoples ‘real needs’. Courses include education, housing, health and income generation. Funding comes from national and local governments grants and international donors. B D
Friday 23 October
Morning visit to one of the colourful – and noisy – vegetable markets. Afternoon at leisure for private exploration. B D
Saturday 24 October
Fly to Mumbai to connect your British airways flight to London. D
- How to Book this Tour
- Travel Insurance
- International flights with Scheduled British airways flights in economy class. World Traveller Plus and Business Class supplements are available on request.
- Internal flights in economy class inclusive all taxes.
- Train reservations in first class airconditioned carraige
- Air-conditioned accommodation with private facilities.
- Meal Plan: Daily breakfast and dinner.
- Services of English-speaking local guides during sightseeing
- Services of Dr Rima Hooja as trip scholar.
- All transfers and sightseeing by an airconditioned coach.
- Entry fee to all monuments and places of interest
- 100% protection of your payment with our ATOL & ABTA licenses
- Complimentary mineral water while driving and on sightseeing.
- Tips & Gratuities
Cost does not include:
- Visa Fee. E-tourist visa is now available for nationalities of most countries. On booking we will send you a step by step guide how to apply for E-tourist visa.
- Travel Insurance: Foreign office advises all overseas travellers to have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place before departure. You may wish to take a quotation for your insurance from the link below:
- Any expenses of a personal nature.
- To book this tour , please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £500.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.
- If you wish to join the tour and fly from any country other than United Kingdom please contact us for land only arrangements.
It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
- It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
- It provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
- It covers you for all activities.
- Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
- Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.
- If you are making multiple trips we recommend that you take a yearly travel insurance policy.
If you have any question about your cover, please check with your insurer.
For a comprehensive travel insurance quote - please click here